Money Talks: The Big Switch to Sustainable Palm Oil

| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

sustainable palm oil Green CenturyWhen your pooled assets add up to more than $600 billion, people tend to pay attention when you write them a letter about sustainable palm oil. That seems to be the case in Friday’s announcement by five major palm oil producers, which pledged to self-impose an immediate moratorium on clearing high carbon stock forests.

The announcement came a week after four of the companies received a letter from a group of investors spearheaded by Green Century Capital Management, with collective assets topping the aforementioned $600 billion. In addition to calling for the moratorium, the Green Century letter urged the producers to adopt more sustainable palm oil practices, in accordance with a growing number of industry stakeholders.

Unfortunately, that’s where things could get sticky.

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Study: Cats, Cell Towers are More Deadly to Birds Than Wind Turbines

Alexis Petru
| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 3 Comments

wind turbinesWind energy has famously pitted environmentalists against each other – renewable energy and climate action advocates vs. wildlife conservationists concerned about wind turbines injuring or killing birds. But a new study, funded by the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI), reveals that bird fatalities resulting from collisions with wind turbines are extremely low; in fact, cell towers and cats kill a far greater number of birds than wind turbines do, the peer-reviewed report found.

Wind turbines are responsible for an estimated 214,000 to 368,000 bird deaths each year, according to A Comprehensive Analysis of Small-passerine Fatalities from Collision with Wind Turbines at Wind Energy Facilities. This is a small fraction of bird fatalities compared with the 6.8 million annual deaths caused by collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 to 3.7 billion fatalities from cats, say the report’s authors, environmental consulting firm West, Douglas Johnson from the U.S. Geological Survey and Joelle Gehring of the Federal Communications Commission.

The report, which focuses on passerines (small birds such as songbirds), is the most comprehensive study of the impacts of wind turbines on small bird populations, said Taber Allison, AWWI director of research and evaluation, in a statement.

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Symantec Twitter Chat Recap: “Bridging the Workforce and Diversity Gaps”

Marissa Rosen
| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

What could companies do better when it comes to diversity in the workplace, and how can we address the skills gap happening across certain industries like tech?

On Thursday, September 18th, TriplePundit addressed these issues as we hosted “Bridging the Workforce and Diversity Gaps” on Twitter at #diversity.8750275571_5fda61700d_z

We engaged corporate responsibility thought leaders in conversation around affirmative action, gender gaps, transnational human rights issues, and much more.

Symantec panelists included: 

  • Cecily Joseph, VP of Corporate Responsibility & Chief Diversity Officer at Symantec Corporation.
  • Marian Merritt, Director of Cyber Education and Online Safety Programs for Symantec Corporation.

Guests participants included: 

  • Meghan Ennes, Community Coordinator at the Shared Value Initiative.
  • Susan McPherson, passionate cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert.

twitter-symantecDuring the course of this hour-long chat, we reached over a million Twitter accounts and generated millions of Twitter impressions across the social media site! Just a few of your distinguished participants included Seth Leitman, David Connor, John Friedman, Milinda Martin, and Henk Campher.

Below is the Storify summary of the conversation on #diversity as it took place. For more information on Symantec’s CSR program, feel free to reach out to Cecily Joseph or Marian Merritt via Twitter.

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Bacardi Partners with World Wildlife Fund on Sugarcane Farm

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

fiji sugarcane harvestingWorld famous rum maker Bacardi and the World Wildlife Fund are aiming to advance sugarcane standards in Fiji with a model sugarcane farm program.

The purpose of the initiative is to protect Fiji’s Great Sea Reef and tropical farmland. The Great Sea Reef is one of the largest reef systems in the world, supplying up to 80 percent of the domestic fish market.

The changes in farming that are part of the initiative include terracing and carefully distancing rows of sugarcane, which help control nutrient and seed runoff into the waterways that lead to the reef. WWF developed the model farms in Fiji.

The initiative helps protects both Fiji’s environment and its economy. Back in 2007, Bacardi started getting involved in sugarcane initiatives. “We saw sugarcane was in one of the important sectors for environmental, economic and social factors…sugarcane is important for rum development,” Dave Howson, global sustainability director for Bacardi, told me.

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8 Ways Community Engagement Strategies Can Drive Business Returns

3p Contributor | Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 2 Comments

By Phil Preston

LOOK sign

Community engagement strategies are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly being used to drive financial returns. Knowing where to start can be tricky, so I’ve outlined eight entry points that you can use to kickstart your strategy process:

1. Purpose: Re-examine your mission and express it in terms of societal benefit

An Australian insurer expresses its purpose as “to help people manage risk and recover from the hardship of unexpected loss,” which is a powerful way of thinking and more meaningful than “to be the outstanding competitor in our chosen markets…” Clarity of purpose provides a platform for new opportunities and builds resilience into the business model.

2. Positioning: Integrate your unique assets and strengths into your strategies

A local property developer includes social assets, such as schools, in its new residential releases. It has developed insight and understands how customers value these features. Learning how to identify and develop your assets, such as intellectual property, is the key.

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People’s Climate March: Being a Part of Something Big

3p Contributor | Sunday September 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: A version of this post was originally published on the EcoPlum blog.

10565046_1454513064799672_5914704337046021387_nBy Gia Machlin

I was born in the ’60s and often think about how crazy that decade was. President John F. Kennedy was killed when my mom was pregnant with me; our good family friend Andrew Goodman was killed in Mississippi right around my birth; Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both killed when I was 4. It must have seemed like the world was falling apart.

Yet the world changed in significant ways that decade, and many people gained rights and freedoms that allowed them to achieve what they only dreamed of at that time. Today, my family, colleagues and coworkers will be part of something HUGE – something so big that it is reminiscent of the groundswell that was the Civil Rights movement: the People’s Climate March here in New York City.

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SOCAP 14 Interview: Marissa Feinberg, Impact HUB NYC

| Saturday September 20th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of SOCAP14.  To see the rest please visit our SOCAP 14 page here.

Marissa Feinberg is co-founder of Impact HUB New York, a co-working space founded on a social enterprise mission.  She also talks about how the HUB is structured and how HUB New York will interact with others in the network.

Marissa and her team will also be hosting us on October 2 for Stories & Beer with a focus on the intersection of water and the fashion industry.  RSVP here if you want to come by!

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3p Weekend: 7 Things You Need to Know About the People’s Climate March

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 2 Comments

10516849_1457572994493679_8105942018734494795_nWith a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

On Sunday, more than 100,000 people and 1,400 businesses, schools and other organizations will take to the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. It’s being billed as “the largest climate march in history.”

You’ve probably seen some details about the march buzzing around your favorite newsfeed, but in case there are any unanswered questions, we’re here to help. To get you in the sign-waving mood, here are five things you need to know about the People’s Climate March before it kicks off on Sunday.

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White House, USDA Give Clean Energy Sector $68 Million Boost

| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 4 Comments

USDARnwEnCvrFollowing through on President Barack Obama’s plans to combat climate change and boost energy productivity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 18 announced it is providing $68 million in funding for 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the nation.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding while visiting North Carolina to highlight USDA’s investments in rural renewable energy projects. He emphasized the economic, as well as social and environmental, benefits government support and stimulus is having in the young but fast-growing renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

“These loan guarantees and grants will have far-reaching impacts nationwide, particularly in the rural communities where these projects are located,” Vilsack said. “Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue the unprecedented increase in home-grown energy sources and American energy independence we’ve seen in recent years. This is creating jobs, providing new economic opportunities and leading the way to a more secure energy future.”

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Can the Great Barrier Reef Be Saved?

Michael Kourabas
| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 1 Comment
According to a 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the reef has lost over half of its coral in the past quarter-century.

According to a 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the reef has lost over half of its coral in the past quarter-century.

In 1981, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Australia’s Great Barrier Reef a World Heritage Site.  Just 25 years later, however, UNESCO warned that climate change and other anthropogenic causes were threatening the reef’’s existence.  In fact, according to a 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the reef has lost over half of its coral in the past quarter-century.

Earlier this year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee noted that conservation efforts at the reef were making some progress, but that significant dangers still remained.  The committee encouraged the Australian government to submit an updated progress report by early 2015, which the committee would consider when determining whether or not the reef deserves placement on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Earlier this week, the Australian and Queensland governments released a draft of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Report, which they hope will allay UNESCO’s concerns.  Critics, however, think bolder action is required.

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Celebrities Line Up for Global Climate Change March

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Friday September 19th, 2014 | 7 Comments

peoples_climate_marchSome of the world’s top politicians will meet in New York City this week to discuss global temperatures. If they want any proof that climate change is impacting the globe, they only have to look at the map.

The People’s Climate March, which was organized for Sunday, Sept. 21, to coincide with a U.N. climate meeting in New York City this week, is now set to take place in more than a hundred locations across the globe. Host cities range from San Francisco to Alausa Lagos, Nigeria. Even smaller events, designed to reinforce the global nature of concern, have sprung up in cities on every continent.

But, as is often the case, the largest attractor to this cause may be the names that are lending their weight to the march. More than 50 celebrities, from Prince Albert II of Monaco to actors like Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon and Brad Pitt, are stepping up to support the effort — which has garnered the endorsements of more than 1,000 environmental, labor and civil rights organizations.

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Does the G8 Report Miss the Real Heart of Impact Investing?

3p Contributor | Friday September 19th, 2014 | 0 Comments

3863027368_2a0d37f56c_zBy Marta Maretich

We were all waiting for it. Now, at last, it’s here.

The Social Impact Investment Taskforce report hit the media on Sept. 15, provoking a small flood of news stories and reaction pieces from governments, development agencies and third-sector bodies.

At 51 pages (not including the eight individual country reports), The Invisible Heart of Markets is a hefty document in more ways than one. It was authored by group of heavyweights including government ministers and the heads of impact organizations from around the world, led by prominent social finance advocate Sir Ronald Cohen. Its editor, Matthew Bishop, is a respected author and writer for the Economist. Even Pope Francis apparently lends his support to the project with a bullish opening quote.

Everything about the report signals its significance not only to the social investing sector but also to the worlds of finance, philanthropy and public policy, all of which will be touched by its far-reaching recommendations. It gathers together what has been until now a scattered picture of the many strands and branches and offshoots of impact, and brings a practical focus on where we all need to go from here. Accordingly, commentators from various parts of the sector are beginning to weigh in on the report’s ramifications in areas like development, the role of government, the future of philanthropy and even crowdfunding.

All this makes the taskforce report a success. Its ambition, its scope, its polish — not to mention the evident political clout that lies behind it — are further signs that impact has arrived. It is a milestone in the evolution of our sector and its effect will be significant and lasting. Sector watchers (myself included) will be mining its rich content for months to come, as well as tracking the progress toward the goals it dares to lay out.

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Dunkin’ Brands, Krispy Kreme Commit to Sustainable Palm Oil

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Krispy-Kreme-300x262 Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, announced its commitment to source only 100 percent sustainable palm oil for its U.S. locations by 2016. Less than a day after Dunkin’s announcement, Krispy Kreme also committed to source 100 percent responsibly produced palm oil.

Dunkin’ Brands will work with its suppliers and its franchisee-owned purchasing cooperatives to source palm oil that’s 100 percent fully traceable to the mill by the end of 2015, and to the plantation by the end of 2016 for its Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. restaurants. By March 1, 2015, Dunkin’ Brands will develop and publish a phased implementation plan.

Dunkin’ Brands will require suppliers to adhere to certain standards, including:

  • No development of high-carbon stock forest and high-conservation areas
  • No burning in preparation of land or in development
  • Progressive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on existing plantations from all sources
  • No development on peat areas
  • No exploitation of people and communities
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SOCAP14 Interview: Scott Anderson, Nextbillion.net

| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of SOCAP14.  To see the rest please visit our SOCAP 14 page here.

Scott Anderson is managing editor of Nextbillion.net, a website and blog bringing together the community of business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, policy makers and academics who want to explore the connection between development and enterprise.   In this clip Scott talks about his experience at SOCAP14 and the state of social enterprise as well as some new developments at Nextbillion.

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Behind the People’s Climate March: An Interview with 350.org

3p Contributor | Thursday September 18th, 2014 | 23 Comments

10403024_1445264969057815_3950629561011550905_nBy Sanaz Arjomand

Why are an expected 100,000 people hitting the streets of New York City this Sunday? To learn more about the strategic thinking behind the upcoming People’s Climate March, the Bard Center for Environmental Policy sat down with 350.org’s U.S. Campus Field Manager, Jenny Marienau.

This Q&A is an edited excerpt from the National Climate Seminar. Bard CEP’s twice-monthly dial-in conversation features top climate scientists, policymakers and activists. The complete podcast of the interview is available here.

Bard CEP: What planted the seed for the People’s Climate March?

Jenny Marienau: About a year ago, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called a meeting of world leaders to talk about solutions to the climate crisis. The People’s Climate March was planned as a way to take advantage of that national stage to demonstrate the power of the climate movement. We tried to bring together all of the different constituencies involved, to flex the climate movement’s muscle and let it see itself all together, marching in the street.

Bard CEP: How many people are participating?

Marienau: We’re hoping to be one of the largest marches in the climate movement’s history with upwards of 100,000 people participating. All 50 U.S. states will be represented at the march. There are 374 buses and trains listed to come to the march.

The march itself is a project of over 1,100 groups, including faith groups, climate action groups, groups of parents and public interest law centers. They have organized events all around the march as well as the march itself. Because it’s such a broad coalition, there isn’t one ask or one set of demands other than the very broad sentiment: “We want to see climate action now.”

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